Having had a front row seat to the disaster in '89 with the Exxon Valdez, I have seen first hand the impact on the environment
and the people that live in an area that has been oiled. It is devastating, when I first heard what had happened in '89, I didn't know whether to cry or throw up or both, but I went down to help with an impossible mess to try to make a difference. At the end of it all Exxon spent billions and recovered less than 10 % of what was spilled and the rest went on the beach or submerged. 5 years after the spill I was involved with the beach surveys to determine the impact of what got left, and one only had to dig down a couple of feet and there was plenty of oil
left, we took over (100), thousand pound bags of oiled sand off of just one small part of one beach and had hardly scratched the surface of what was left, and the oil
had spread to almost every where on the coast of Alaska
. What they didn't do was burn the Exxon Valdez to the water
line and leave it on Bligh reef as a warning to other tankers about what would happen if they got careless or complacent. Some of the things they did do was try many different methods of clean up, none of them worked very well, the one that showed the most promise was the bio-remediation, which involved microbes that would consume the oil, I think this method might work better in a warm water environment
than it worked in Alaska
. Many people joined in a class action suit, to make Exxon pay for what had happened and the end result was Exxon lost
the suit, they delayed through various legal
tactics until 20 years had passed, by that time 30% of the claimants had died, and when the time came for Exxon to pay up, a judge set aside 80% of the judgment, so for all intents and purposes Exxon got a walk.
There is no easy way to clean this mess up, and things will never be the same again, as long as we bring crude oil out of the ground there is a certainty that some of it will end up in the water. I don't like it, but that doesn't change the reality.
My heart goes out to all who live on the Gulf of Mexico